Iteca: The 2005 Season Will Be a Success
At the beginning of 2004 we already wrote about the activities carried out by ITE Group Plc, an international exhibition company, which is among the top five in the world doing business in this sphere, and holds about 350 exhibitions and conferences in more than 20 countries each year. Iteca Ltd (ITE Central Asia) is the exclusive partner of ITE in the Central Asia and the Caucasus. Yelena Kadatskaya, the Central Asia, Caucasus and Turkey ITE Regional Director, elaborates on the achievements of the past exhibition season and the company's plans for 2005.
The company has been operating in the Caspian region since 1993. At that time we arranged the first oil and gas exhibition in the region, thus pioneering the exhibition industry in Kazakhstan and the Central Asian countries. This was the time when the national business became established. We implemented the first steps made by many companies that are household names nowadays: during the exhibitions they used to find suppliers and negotiate about establishing joint ventures. Of course, at the start there were not very many domestic exhibitors since most Kazakhstani businessmen had no idea that an exhibition could be used as an effective means of marketing. Today the situation has changed radically: half of our exhibitors are local companies using exhibitions successfully in order to promote their business. For example, in 1995–1996 only 11 domestic companies took part in the KazBuild (construction exhibition); but in 2004 there were about 200 Kazakhstani companies out of 470 participants. This is how it ought to be.
It is good to see that companies are interested in the exhibitions arranged by us and that this interest is becoming stronger and stronger. Today Iteca's exhibitions cover almost all branches of the economy: as many as 35 specialist exhibitions and international conferences were held in Almaty, Astana and Atyrau in 2004. At the same time the exhibition potential of Kazakhstan is not bound by our estimates, therefore we are arranging 2 or 3 new exhibition projects annually and are determined to maintain this trend in the future. Iteca also operates actively in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. 67 exhibitions and 12 conferences, attended by more than 350,000 visitors, were held in these countries in 2004.
The past year was very productive. It required the company to change its structure and expand the activities it carried out. Besides key exhibitions such as KIOGE, KIHE, MiningWorld, KITEL, Power and WorldFood, in which the number of participants increased by 15% in 2004, we continued to develop other promising projects: package and printing production (KazUpak and KazPrintMedia), consulting and business services (ConsultExpo), household appliances and electronics (CEM Central Asia) and other new directions. A specialised exhibition newspaper Iteca Exhibition News has been published since autumn 2004; its main content is commentaries on the exhibitions held, industry surveys and interviews with experts. I would like to point out Iteca's successful cooperation with Russian Chambers of Commerce and Industry within the framework of the Russia Year in Kazakhstan programme. Attendance at chemical industry exhibition (Chemie 2004) by a St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry delegation helped a number of Russian companies to approach the markets of the Central Asian countries.
A new impetus was given to our Caspian field of activity due to the acquisition of the well-known Caspian Oil & Gas exhibition, held annually in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, by ITE. We will promote this exhibition vigorously among our clients in order to help them to open up their potential in the promising Azerbaijani market.
As for the Iteca's short-range plans, these envisage improving quality of service and widening the range of subjects of exhibitions to be held. It should be noted that we manage to attract such a large number of foreign and local companies thanks to the exhibition area. Today Atakent is the biggest exhibition centre in Central Asia and is one of the five best-known complexes in the CIS countries. A new entrance to the exhibition complex, comprising a new access road and two parking areas, is going to be built by 2005. In addition, the registration of visitors will be carried out in a separate building equipped for this purpose.
Speaking about ITE's strategy in general, I should point out that the company wishes to expand its business by focussing on Russia and the CIS countries. For example, we are planning to organise a new Jewellery & Watch exhibition in Kazakhstan and a tourism services exhibition (BITF) in Kyrgyzstan. Several exhibitions in various fields will be held in Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan. We are also planning to expand our activities abroad: an international exhibition to support infrastructure development (Mongolia Infrastructure) will be held in Mongolia for the first time in 2005. All in all it is planned to arrange 86 exhibitions and 13 conferences in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and Mongolia this year. I think that the 2005 exhibition season is sure to be interesting and successful.
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